Most Republican 5th District candidates support Trump’s response to pandemic

Most of the Republican candidates running in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District say the federal government has responded well to the coronavirus pandemic.

During two virtual candidate forums hosted by Indiana Town Halls and WFYI Productions on Monday night, 14 of the 15 Republicans seeking the seat were asked to rate the Trump administration’s actions so far related to the global health crisis.

Most of the candidates praised President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Former Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Kent Abernathy said he thinks the White House has done “a tremendous job” and described the situation as a war.

Seven of the 15 Republican candidates for the 5th District participate in a virtual forum Monday night.

Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi agreed with Abernathy’s war comparison and called the coronavirus “the invisible enemy.” Brizzi repeatedly talked about how he believes China should be held accountable for its role in spreading the disease.

Pediatric rehabilitation specialist Chuck Dietzen said he prefers for the government to be proactive, rather than reactive, but the administration didn’t have a choice in this situation.

“I think the administration has done a great job,” Dietzen said.

Former nurse Beth Henderson said she understands officials are trying to weigh the public health crisis with the economic crisis, and suggested that the sooner the economy can start rolling again, the better off the country will be.

Several candidates also applauded Gov. Eric Holcomb, but criticized governors from other states, like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is a Democrat.

Micah Beckwith, former student ministry worship pastor at Northview Church in Carmel, said Whitmer’s actions to shut her state down have basically made her a communist. He said he thinks Trump has done “a decent job” responding to the virus.

Some of the candidates who complimented the work the White House has done didn’t feel the same way about Congress, though.

Seven of the 15 Republican candidates participate in a virtual forum Monday night.

Indiana State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell said she has been “disgusted” by members of Congress, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for holding up relief packages in order to get funding or support for various “pet projects.”

Two candidates—Matthew Hook and Mark Small—said they didn’t think the federal government has handled the pandemic well.

Hook said he’d give the administration a “C-” or “D+” due to not having enough support for health care workers and not having enough testing immediately available.

“I think we’re on the lower end of the grading scale, quite frankly,” Hook said.

Small suggested an even worse grade of a “D-” or “F” because he thinks the federal government has failed to provide a nationwide and coordinated approach.

But state Sen. Victoria Spartz said she thinks leaving more decisions to state and local governments is a good thing and commended the Trump administration for allowing that to happen.

The candidates were also asked about whether everyone should have access to health care, and most of them agreed there should be access, but emphasized that it doesn’t mean the government needs to provide it.

Small was the exception to this consensus though, saying he believes the country needs a single-payer health care system.

All 14 candidates said they would be loyal to the U.S. Constitution over being loyal to the Republican party when asked about it.

Nearly all of the candidates said they would support term limits, except Allen Davidson, who said he was “neutral” on the topic; Small, who said he was against it; and Mitchell, who said she thinks it’s up to the voters to decide but doesn’t plan on having a career in Congress.

One Republican candidate—Victor Wakley—did not participatein the forum.

Indiana Town Halls is hosting a virtual candidate forum for the five Democratic candidates at 7 p.m. Tuesday. It can be streamed at

The 5th District seat, which includes all of Hamilton, Madison, Tipton and Grants counties and portions of Marion, Boone, Howard and Blackford counties, is held by Republican Susan Brooks, who is retiring. The primary election is June 2.

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8 thoughts on “Most Republican 5th District candidates support Trump’s response to pandemic

  1. Mark Small is the sleeper candidate here. He’s the anti-Trump and I think most people are tired of the blind loyalty to Trump that has this country in a death spiral. Mark is smart and yes a little bit crazy, but it sure beats the lemming approach most others have displayed. +1 for the cat on his desk during the forum.

    1. Mark Small might be a litmus test for how many sane Republicans are actually left and vote in the Republican primary for the least bad candidate.

      Will be interesting to see if the way to hold this district is to select the farthest right candidate.

    2. The Republican party of old is long gone, sadly – it would be so refreshing to see a candidacy such as his do well. But no-one wants to hear the truth or common sense anymore, it seems:(

  2. I used to be Republican but no more. Trump is a pathological liar and morally corrupt person who has brainwashed his base. How does someone support this awful person who constantly criticizes everyone that disagrees with him while being so incompetent he disbanded the pandemic team Obama put in place and is clearly over his head running this country.

  3. The last thing this country needs is another member of Congress who silently stands by as the president proclaims our free press is “the enemy of the people” and brazenly fires inspectors general who would blow the whistle on abuses of power. We do not need another congressman who looks the other way as the president ignores the intelligence community about the threats posed by Russia and others abroad and dismisses the expert advice of how to protect our country here at home from the long term threat of Covid19. In other words, we need a representative in Congress with the intelligence, the courage, and the integrity to understand his oath of office and to honor it.

  4. It’s amazing how smart all the comment posters to date are; just amazing. And unbelievable, too. I like the way people say, “I think most people…” as if they are credentialed professional pollsters qualified to report what “most people think.”

    1. That phrase (most people) is typically used by non-pollsters because, based on their value system, they are hopeful that “most people” aren’t lemmings being led to the cliff. The truth (and this is the truth) that Trump is a liar. He is, by technical definition, an egotist. Professionals have deemed his behavior as “disruptive”, “bullying” and “erratic”. I would choose to have the President of these United States to NOT tweet activity that simply divides and undermines our democracy in the name of capitalism. If the two cannot peacefully coexist under the guidance of our President, then that speaks more to the failed qualities of this President than it does to the resiliency of either our democracy or our economic system of capitalism. Unquestionably, there will be those that choose to continue to support the President. It then becomes both your right and mine, to make our choices, as well. I am hopeful that “most people” have a value system rooted in integrity, honestly, fairness, a uniting spirit, an interest in others before themselves and an ability to recognize what is right and what is wrong. I am hopeful that “most people” see support for this type of President and his “on the record” statements regarding this pandemic that were clearly wrong, misleading, self-serving and damaging to the effort of these UNITED states to have the benefit of a Federal government capable of handling this “war” (his word, not mine) in the same way we would any war…..with a strong, early, well planned NATIONAL DEFENSE. I wouldn’t support any candidate or person that supports this President. It speaks directly to their own lack of character and value system.

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